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FState veld fires started at dumps

Bloemfontein - Free State municipalities might face legal action after five runaway veld fires, which started at town dumping sites, destroyed thousands of hectares of grazing, Die Volksblad newspaper reported on Friday.

The newspaper reported that farmers had indicated that negligent municipalities would be held accountable for annual damages of millions on farms.

Fire protection associations in the Free State were apparently dejected because municipalities regularly neglected to manage fires, which then spread to neighbouring farms.

Free State agriculture department forestry spokesman Malcolm Procter told the newspaper the Field and Forest Fire Act forced all land owners to take appropriate action to prevent fires spreading from their properties.

Land owners not belonging to local fire protection associations could also be charged with negligence.

Runaway fires have destroyed 257 000 hectare of grazing in the province this year.

It was estimated that 50 000 hectares were destroyed by fires which started at municipal dumping sites, the newspaper reported. - Sapa

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